The Natural

7.42 h 17 min1984X-RayHDRUHDPG
Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs, a talented baseball player whose career is unexpectedly derailed in his prime. But when Hobbs returns to the game as a middle-aged rookie, he is afforded another chance at sports stardom.
Barry Levinson
Robert RedfordRobert DuvallGlenn Close
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Kim Basinger
Mark Johnson
Sony Pictures Television
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.8 out of 5 stars

2880 global ratings

  1. 86% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 9% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

person001Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Natural ... when good movies were the norm rather than the exception
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I originally watched this movie around the time it was released (1984) and I liked it back then. So I felt like watching it again (2020). I was literally blown away this time by how good a movie it was compared to what typically passes for a film lately. Character development done right, plot development done right, montages done effectively, many subtle scenes with excellent acting all around mark this as a great classic. Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley - who could ask for more talented actors. I can only point to perhaps one small plot weakness which I won't be specific about here to avoid spoiling, but otherwise this is the great classic hero story.

There is a certain demographic that, thanks to today's identity politics, may have more difficulty finding good stories like this to which they can relate. This film may be particularly inspirational to people who might feel like their lives didn't turn out the way they had hoped and have trouble seeing the silver lining. I wouldn't be surprised if this film is eventually rebooted at some point with countless revisions to make it conform to the political ideology rampant in today's Hollywood, but this is one of the main reasons that I find myself going back to watch these films that I love one more time before they get ruined or become difficult to find in their original form.
28 people found this helpful
Joseph LaCerraReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hits It Out of the Park!
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Arguably the best baseball movie ever made, The Natural has the rare distinction of being better than the book it was adapted from. Robert Redford is pitch perfect as the title player and is ably assisted by a wonderful supporting cast that includes Glenn Close, Wilfred Brimley, Robert Duvall, and Kim Basinger, among others. This is the story of a man injured by life. A life that took an unexpected turn, making him become lost and adrift, only to try to find his way back to dignity and glory. It's just a wonderful movie! The Natural really hits it out of the park and knocks the cover off the ball!
24 people found this helpful
DavePReviewed in the United States on June 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Baseball as Greek Mythology
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As long as you understand what Levinson is doing, this is a great movie. It's not meant to be realistic, and despite what many critics said to the contrary, I liked it better than the novel. It's an unambiguous feel-good movie, but hey, what's wrong with feeling good? You never doubt where you'll end up, but getting there is a lot of fun. I recommend the Prime Video version because it is the original release version, which is superior to the Director's Cut that I got on DVD. I've been looking for the original for some time, and though the video quality leaves a good deal to be desired, I still prefer it without the cuts that were made to accommodate additions to the opening, while keeping the running time the same. It's surprising how a few snips could rob the confrontation with the Whammer of so much tension and euphoria. That scene sets the tone for the movie.
6 people found this helpful
Francis Booth LynchReviewed in the United States on April 3, 2022
3.0 out of 5 stars
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Bonus movie 6 of 1984 in my journey through films of my lifetime

All I remember is a baseball flying into lights and sparks going everywhere. As the years have gone on I have not found sports movies to be all that inspiring any more. Hopefully "The Natural" will give me a renewed interest!

So it all came rushing back to me, my problem with sports movies. It's kind of like cop movies where the bad guys are the higher-ups in the organization. "So I Married An Axe Murderer" did a good job joking around about this. Who's the problem in The Natural? The higher-ups. I'm not yawning yet but the urge to roll my eyes is strong.

Maybe one of the best terms I can use to describe "The Natural" is "sappy." I just don't think sports are more meaningful than the singular pennant or championship they aspire to within themselves. Golf movies are particularly egregious to this end (being sappy that is) but baseball is definitely a close second. This isn't the case for all of them. "Rudy" or "Hoosiers" would be a good example of movies that offers no transcendent nonsense. Despite my feelings here I'm not saying "The Natural" is a bad movie, actually it's quite good, but the appeal to the audience that would see a sport as all important falls flat to me, it seems almost childish. I feel like the main character in "Dazed and Confused" where he's looking for more out of life than just football. The old man comes up telling him how good the team looks and this guy just had different aspirations; this old man almost seems pathetic hoping for so much out of a high school football team while life is getting on for this young kid.

Redford's acting is not much to speak of. He delivers his lines with this curt, placid cadence that is fine during a line reading but when the lights come on one would expect more. I could be wrong but I doubt he did much theater, few could even hear him much less be convicted of his character's motives. Likely he just got used to getting by on his looks and who could blame him. Truly someone like Harrison Ford would have really made this role and he looked just as good if not better.

The ending, well that's the thing with sports movies: real sports are already full of drama so in sports movies it has to be contrived and over the top. "The Natural" doesn't dissapoint here. The final scenes feel more like Christmas morning than an ideal conclusion to a game. Is this a good or bad thing? I actually think it depends on what you want out of a movie. For me I thought it was a little cheesy, but I also couldn't blame someone who might have loved it.

In the end I'm not embarrassed to recommend "The Natural." It's a good movie, it's not my kind of movie, but definitely good.

-well made film with beautiful cinematography
-great cast
-great score
-good story

-Robert Redford delivers a wooden performance
-has some predictable sports movies tropes
One person found this helpful
OrrymainReviewed in the United States on July 31, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Redford and Baseball: Works for Me!
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The version I purchased of The Natural was the two-disk Director's Cut set. I liked that viewers had the option at the very beginning to listen to Barry Levinson, the director, explain in brief how the cut altered the movie from the original theatrical release. Now, I saw the movie in the theater and once or twice on cable over the years, but honestly, I don't remember the original that specifically to tell what the differences are. I do appreciate having Levinson's comment about the changes up front, though. Viewers don't have to listen that first, but it's presented above the 'play movie' for those who are interested in doing so as I was.

I enjoy Robert Redford movies and before the era of steroids and ridiculous salaries, I loved baseball, so seeing this in the theater upon release was natural for me. I recall liking it and thinking it was a bit slow in places, so buying the Director's Cut to see if that slowness was taken away, was also a natural for me. I may not enjoy baseball like I once did, but I still like a good Redford film performance.

Levinson removed several minutes from the movie's first cut, rearranged and edited, and ultimately added five minutes and in total, this lengthened the movie by five minutes. The opening was definitely more tight, as he called it. Years ago, I remember thinking the opening in particular was so slow, almost dark and dreary, and I did not feel that way in watching the DVD today.

Redford is Roy Hobbs, initially a young man with a bright future in baseball until he gets shot by a mysterious woman. It's sixteen years later when he finally gets a shot at the big leagues, although not everyone is on his side, including the manager (Wilford Brimley) who refuses to play such an old rookie. He doesn't even let him practice, until one day when Hobbs challenges him. Then the manager gets a big shock: this old rookie can play.

From there, it's baseball drama and folks wanting to solve the mystery of Roy Hobbs' past while also putting in play a bit of a Black Sox scandal. The supporting cast is full of top notch actors, such as Glenn Close and Robert DuVall. Darrin McGavin, Kim Bassinger, Barbara Hershey, and Robert Prosky were also part of the cast. The big finale is an explosive delight, the kind that makes a fan cheer and smile with excitement. It takes a while to get there, but it's a good journey.

The second disk has all of the bonus material, including a feature (in parts without a 'play all' option which annoys me) on the creation of the story and getting the movie made. It was truly interesting to hear the director and Redford discuss the ending of the movie and how it was changed from the novel, which provides a darker, more sad ending than what is seen in the film. That's followed by short "extras" that discuss different aspects of the movie, such as making era-appropriate uniforms, use of slow motion, and the one question President Reagan had about the movie.

Next comes a segment called Clubhouse Conversations which includes folks like George Will, Bob Costas, Ryne Sandberg, Jason Giambi, and Don Mattingly talking (individually, not together) about the game of baseball. After this comes the shocking story of a baseball player shot by a female stalker. Though severely injured, he survived and returned to the game of baseball. She was the inspiration for the Barbara Hershey character in The Natural. The last part of this extra is about the various mythologies used in the novel and in the movie.

"The Heart of The Natural" is a featurette that features Cal Ripken Jr. on the gift or talent to play the game. This extends to include topics like the media and the business of the game. He also talks about heroes and the concept of role models.

So, strong Redford performance, good drama, satisfying ending, and interesting extras make this an excellent DVD. Truly, my only complaint is the lack of a 'play all' option for that initial extra on The Natural coming together. Commentary would have been great, too, but as it is, the Director's Cut set is well worth it.
3 people found this helpful
Jaime ContrerasReviewed in the United States on May 19, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The perfect baseball movie and more
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Director Barry Levinson took a great novel by Bernard Malamud and made it an incredible film about a middle-aged man who realizes he has one last chance to try to use the talent he was given but wasted due to a tragedy. Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs who as a young man fell prey to an evil woman, the lady in black(Barbara Hershey) and loses years recuperating from an injury. He finds himself given one last chance to play in the majors with the New York Knights managed by Pops (Wilfred Brimley) and his friend and coach, Red (Richard Farnsworth). He runs afoul of a prima donna Bump Bailey (Michael Madsen), co-owner of the team, the Judge (Robert Prosky), and a yellow journalist (Robert Duvall), a femme fatale (Kim Bassinger), and a cold-hearted gambler (Darren McGavin). Glenn Close plays his high school sweetheart who refinds him. The on-the-field action is balanced beautifully by the dramatic script and storylines. This is a masterpiece and a film to be treasured.
2 people found this helpful
Lana LorenzenReviewed in the United States on November 12, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Very good baseball movie
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Robert Redford is quite good in this film, especially for an actor who's talents are not overwhelming. In large part, it's Redford playing Redford as Malamud's main character in the novel of the same name. I liked the book (I read it many years ago) and the movie had exceptional supporting players. In the film, the younger version of Redford in the beginning of the movie should have been played by the actor who portrayed his son at the end of the film. Redford was too old to portray himself at eighteen. He was a bit over the age line to portray the older version of the protagonist as well but still, it was well worth watching and I've seen it several times.
5 people found this helpful
MaxwellReviewed in the United States on January 31, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie. Loved the Director's cut because it explained ...
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Great movie. Loved the Director's cut because it explained so much more in the beginning that in the original movie you didn't get until the end, if at all. Same movie, they just added a few more minutes which explains the why's and how come's of what happened on the train that ultimately changed the direction of his life. Much better. Same movie, yet the added minutes makes it perfect.
21 people found this helpful
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